In Germany, market access for artists or creatives from outside the EU is governed by the Aufenthaltsgesetz (English: Residence Act) and the Beschäftigungsverordnung (BeschV; English: Employment Ordinance) of 22 November 2004. Work may only be carried out if the residence title permits it. Work, in this case, includes self-employed activity and employment. The ZAV usually must approve issuance of a residence title. There are some exceptions for artists, which are set out in the Employment Ordinance and listed below.
Issuance of a residence title for specific professional groups pursuant to § 22 BeschV
According to § 22 BeschV, the approval of the ZAV is not required in order for a residence permit (C visa with employment or D visa) to be issued to specific professional groups by the embassy/the consulate. This applies to:
A Chilean circus artist is invited to give a guest performance during a five-day festival in Dresden.
In this case, the appropriate embassy/consulate may decide on the issuance of the visa without the consent of the German authorities.
An artist from Iraq is invited to Germany for a period of two weeks for setting up his/her exhibition pieces and participation in the subsequent opening of the exhibition. On the day following the opening, he/she gives a workshop as part of the exhibition, for which he/she receives a fee.
As this is considered a self-employed activity, approval of the ZAV is not required.
§ 25 BeschV Culture and entertainment – in case of employment relationships
An opera house in Germany hires a sound artist from Singapore for one season.
Since this is an employment relationship in the area of culture and entertainment, the ZAV may give its consent. The sound artist applies for a D visa and, after approval by the German authorities, the competent embassy may issue the visa.
As mentioned above, nationals of Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, and the United States are subject to an exception to the visa requirement. They may obtain the residence title necessary for employment at the competent immigration authority in Germany after entry. This authority will seek the approval of the Federal Employment Agency in accordance with the Employment Ordinance (BeschV). Applicants may start their work only after approval of the relevant residence title.